Mouth guards cover your gums and teeth to help keep your mouth and teeth from harm. Mouth guards should be used to keep you safe when you play contact or highly physical sports. They also help to reduce the effects of teeth clenching or grinding. In all cases, the goal of mouth guard use is to help you keep your teeth from being chipped or broken, prevent nerve damage, and avoid tooth loss. Also, mouth guards are used for some tooth whitening procedures.
A sports mouth guard can prevent serious injuries such as concussions, cerebral haemorrhages, incidents of unconsciousness, jaw fractures, and neck injuries by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw. Mouth guards are effective in moving soft issue in the oral cavity away from the teeth, preventing laceration and bruising of the lips and cheeks, especially for those who wear orthodontic appliances.
Types of Mouth Guards
- Stock mouth guards – Low cost stock mouth guards can be found at most department stores and sporting goods stores. This type is ready to use, but they do have a few down sides. Most dentists do not advise their use. The drawbacks include trouble related to proper fit as well as the ability to speak and breathe comfortably. This type offers the least defence for your mouth and teeth.
- Boil and Bite Mouth Guards: This type is made from a kind of plastic that can be reshaped when heated. Boil and bite mouth guards can often be found at sporting goods stores, and they may fit better than stock mouth guards.
- Custom-fitted Mouth Guards: This type is made in a dental office or lab for the person who will wear it. It offers the comfort and protection. Custom-fitted guards are also the most costly type due to the use of special materials and the time and work needed.
Mouth Guards for Braces Wearers
Injury to the mouth can damage braces or other fixed appliances. Because of this, it is especially important for those who wear braces to use protective mouth guards during sports. Your dentist or orthodontist can provide you with a custom-fitted mouth guard that will meet your needs.
Care for your mouth guard
Clean the mouth guard by washing it with soap and warm (not hot) water. Before storing, soak the mouth guard in mouthwash. Keep it in a well-ventilated plastic storage box when not in use. Make sure the box has several holes so the mouth-guard will dry. Heat is bad for mouth guards, so do not leave it in direct sunlight or in a closed automobile. Don’t bend the mouth guard when storing. One should not handle or wear someone else’s mouth guard. Contact us if there are any problems with the mouth guard.
Feel free to contact our office to learn more about mouth guards and to schedule an appointment with our general dentist.